I realize the title of this blog can cause some men to sweat bullets; the idea of talking to your wife about your sexual struggles may even make you nauseous. I understand. Early on in our healing process I watched my husband stumble through confessions with nervous embarrassment and a pale face as he was unsure of what the outcome would be. But I’m here to offer you some encouragement and some tips. Know this, sharing your struggles with your wife as you diligently seek purity will not only increase your odds of remaining faithful, but will help your wife begin to grow in her trust for you. As she sees you being genuinely honest with her and as she sees you not only struggle but gain victories over those temptations, she will begin to see you in a new light. She will see you as a strong, courageous man who is willing to do whatever it takes to live a life of purity. She will feel more attractive and loved because she will see that you are trying to pursue her and that those struggles that every man faces are ones that you want to discuss with her and refrain from. Genuine confession and conversations like these were vital to our healing process and even today they continue to keep my husband and I connected and on the same page.
So how do you share with your wife without causing her to go into a complete meltdown? Here’s a few tips my husband and I came up with that we’ve shared with many couples:
- Humility is key- Most likely if you’re seeking this advice, you’ve probably hurt your wife in the past. Sexual betrayal is very hurtful and difficult to overcome. But hopefully you and your wife are taking steps to restore that trust that was broken. And now you may be struggling with temptations to look at pornography again or to have wandering eyes (and thoughts). When confessing your struggles to your wife, try to remember that she’s been hurt before. Let’s face it, your sin broke her heart. So justifications and excuses only feed bitterness but a humble spirit will go a long way in helping your wife become your helpmate in this pursuit of purity.
- Listen with tenderness- Your wife is vulnerable. She wants to help you through these struggles but it’s difficult to hear that you may have fallen again or that your struggling with looking at other women. Your wife will have to do her part on not taking your struggles as a personal attack. But you need to understand that it’s not as easy as you think. If she cries or gets angry, try to remember she’s hurting and don’t invalidate her feelings.
- Details- Use discretion but don’t be too vague. Your wife needs to know the extent of your sin and struggles but she doesn’t need to be crushed with every grisly detail. It’s a genuine balance between being genuinely honest with your wife about your sexual struggles while not being cruel. This is one reason why my husband and I highly recommend having male accountability partners as well. You can confess your sins and struggles in a more detailed manner with them while still sharing the basics with your wife. (Note: In no way am I saying you should keep any secrets from your wife. I believe wholeheartedly in full disclosure with my spouse. But I am saying that sometimes the details don’t always have expressed. For example, if you recently had a one night stand with another woman, you need to confess that to our wife! But you should refrain from describing all the dirty details to her. Get it?)
- Respond with repentance and a plan- Don’t just confess to your wife for the sake of confessing. You need to have a repentant heart and a plan of attack. She needs to see your repentance in action. Whether you’ve fallen and have sinned sexually or you’re just really struggling with a sexual temptation, your wife needs to see that you genuinely want a pure heart and what you plan to do to avoid those sexual sins and temptations in the future.
- Pray without ceasing- Ask the Lord to help you keep a love for truth and a desire to have a clear conscience. To not shy away from it but rather have the courage to confess your struggles and repent of sins that keep you in bondage. Pray for your wife’s too. Ask God to mend and heal her heart as He continues to mold her into the woman He created her to be.
So have courage and stay humble, and go talk to your wife.
If you have any questions about my ministry or would like to see more resources, please visit my website at Isaiah 53 Ministry.